Sarah & Chris’ Lion’s Bridge Engagement Session

In August, I got the chance to head back home to Virginia. It was a chance to visit with family, see my niece, ride some roller coasters, and catch up with Sarah & Chris. I met Chris back in high school, when I was just a young girl going to local shows, in the beginning stages of my courtship with photography. Chris played bass in my favorite local band. His band even played a show in my living room at my 16th birthday party. Yes, I was that cool. Many of the first photographs I took, were photos of his band playing shows, so I guess I owe a lot to Chris.

In May, I’ll be headed back below the Mason-Dixon, to the land of sweet tea and chicken pastry, to shoot their wedding. Until then, here are some photographs of their engagement session.

A couple embraces in the woods during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.A couple embraces in the woods during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.Black and white portrait of a couple during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.Black and white portrait of a couple during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.A couple poses with their dogs during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.A couple poses with their dogs during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.A couple poses outside of Hilton Elementary School during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.A couple poses outside of Hilton Elementary School during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.A couple poses on a dock behind of Hilton Elementary School during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.A couple embraces in the woods during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.A couple embraces in the woods during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.A couple embraces in the woods in this Brenizer method portrait during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.Black and white portrait of a couple in Hilton Village during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.Black and white portrait of a couple in Hilton Village during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.Portrait of a couple in Hilton Village during a Newport News Virginia engagement session by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer Heather Jowett.Portrait of a couple at LionPortrait of a couple at LionPortrait of a couple at LionPortrait of a couple at LionPortrait of a couple at LionPortrait of a couple at LionPortrait of a couple at LionPortrait of a couple at LionPortrait of a couple at Lion

Joseph Hall - Love the tree and the light shot – lovely

Sidney Morgan - Ahhh Heather, these are all so gorgeous!!

Denis Adonis - Me gustan muuuucho estos retratos, el brenizer method te quedo la raja, y tu edición me parece genial! Saludos from Valparaíso

Jessica Schilling - So much gorgeousness! Beautiful couple, light, and scenery.

Johanna - I can’t stand all this cuteness going on. I made some really squeaky sounds when seeing that cute little dog and that tongue. SO adorable. Beautiful work, Heather! :)

Albert Palmer - Stunning use of light Heather – quite jealous!

Heather Kanilopoolos - Beautiful use of light and shadows. Gorgeous!

naomi - the light, the light! but seriously, the light. love the second and third frames

tobiah - love the shot in the woods – the depth of field is brilliant! lovely light throughout and that dog is lovely

/mariahedengren - Oh this is really beautiful, Heather. Loving it!

Brittany - I would like her dress please and thank you. These are uber lovely. The light in those last shots – well I die, and turn a touch green with jealousy.

belinda - Beautiful imagery! Love the art in all of them. :)

Emanuelle - I love the picture with so much light, gorgeous

A Day With the Nehras

I get asked quite often if I do family portraits, and my answer is always “Not like you’ve probably ever seen before.” A family portrait can be so much more than a photograph of a group of related individuals sitting on a beach in skillfully coordinated polo shirts smiling into the camera. To me, a family portrait is a photo of a 2 year old messing up the bed her Mom just made by jumping on it. It’s a photo of a new father’s terrified expression as he changes his newborn daughter’s diaper. It’s a photo of a mother, chasing after her toddler, who decided now would be a great time to run in the opposite direction. It’s a photo of a family where they’re most comfortable, in their own home, no matter how messy it is, surrounded by the ones they love. That’s the kind of family portrait I make.

Here’s an afternoon I spent with Alex, Andrew, and Sienna, making family portraits.

A 2 year old jumps on the bed during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A 2 year old jumps on the bed during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A 2 year old jumps on the bed during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old shows her age during a lifestyle family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A 2 year old shows off her yoga skills during a lifestyle family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.The family that meditates together, stays together.A family poses on their back deck during a lifestyle family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A father tosses his daughter in their backyard during a lifestyle family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.Interior of a mid-century home in metro Detroit during a lifestyle family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A family reads a story during a lifestyle family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A family reads a story during a lifestyle family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A family reads a story during a lifestyle family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.Interior of a childA two year old plays in her bedroom in a mid-century home in metro Detroit during a lifestyle family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old girl spies on her kitten during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A family journeys to the creek that runs behind their house during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A family journeys to the creek that runs behind their house during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A family journeys to the creek that runs behind their house during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A family makes fake mustaches during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.Piggyback rides during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A family looks for birds during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.Interior of a mid-century home in Metro Detroit during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old plays with binoculars during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old plays with binoculars during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old and her mother play with binoculars during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.Interior of a mid-century home in Metro Detroit during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old girl spies on her kitten during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old and her father play on a mid-century style rowing machine during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old and her father play on a mid-century style rowing machine during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old and her father play on a mid-century style rowing machine during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old girl spies on her kitten during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old girl spies on her kitten during a documentary family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old drives a toy car during a photojournalistic family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old drives a toy car during a photojournalistic family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old drives a toy car during a photojournalistic family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old plays with her mother and father in the front yard of their mid-century home in Metro-Detroit during a photojournalistic family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old plays with her mother and father in the front yard of their mid-century home in Metro-Detroit during a photojournalistic family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old plays with her mother and father in the front yard of their mid-century home in Metro-Detroit during a photojournalistic family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old plays with her mother and father in the front yard of their mid-century home in Metro-Detroit during a photojournalistic family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old plays with her mother and father in the front yard of their mid-century home in Metro-Detroit during a photojournalistic family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.A two year old plays with her mother and father in the front yard of their mid-century home in Metro-Detroit during a photojournalistic family portrait session in Ferndale photographed by Ann Arbor Wedding Photographer, Heather Jowett.

Adonye Jaja - this is what family photos should look like! super well done!

Sidney Morgan - Gosh, these are all so beautiful. One of my favorite family sessions i’ve seen all year.

Matthew Long - YES! This is how family photography should be done. Natural, relaxed, fun.

Jessie - These are all so fun… Family Love!

ayesha - precious! and inspiring <3 also… OMG that house, that window. love!

Damien - What a very special set! Heather they must be over the moon! i love that house too

Steve Markow - This is amazing. Thats how family photos should be done.

Veronica Varos - Awesome set and I’m so, so in love with their home!

Dominique / York Place Studios - The one where the little girl is looking out the window at the cat made me stop in my tracks. I love these images. :)

Michelle Edmonds - Gosh, love these. And your description of how family portraits SHOULD be is spot on. Wonderful work.

/mariahedengren - This is to beautiful. I want to be a kid again.

Daniel Ha - You should definitely do family photo sessions, you do them very well!

Serena Severtson - Love these images, Heather! That little girl is the cutest and it looks like it was so much fun!

Jane Haglund - What a sweet shoot – lovely work!!

Joseph Hall - Totally sweet- especially the cat out the window shot!

Nick - I just got a little teary eyed! I’m having a little girl next month and I was picturing myself in these. well done Heather, I love these.

Douglas Pettway - Um, I think they’ve won the “Happiest Family in America” award. :) Love that house too! :)

Delia McDonagh - Such happy and fun moments you catured Heather. I love it!

tim riddick - holy amaze balls!

Jenny and Steve’s Handmade Backyard Wedding

There is a special place in my heart reserved for the brides who forsake fancy ballrooms and ornate churches, and instead choose to get married in the humble, American backyard. Maybe it’s because I was one of those brides, or maybe it’s because I just love shooting wedding ceremonies barefoot (which I am guaranteed to do whenever grass is underfoot).

There is something about the backyard. It’s the setting of so many memories: games of hide and seek as children, late night bonfires, Fourth of July cookouts, and now, more and more, the wedding. It’s hard for me to take two steps in my backyard without being hit with nostalgia for my childhood, when my backyard belonged to my grandparents, and I spent hours splashing in their pool with my cousins, and I can’t look at the pine tree in our yard without remembering the day I stood under it to say I do.

Now, Jenny and Steve are a part of the club. When they go home to visit Jenny’s mother’s house, they’ll get to walk past the place where they said I do. They’ll get to feel the grass under their toes, the same grass they danced on. And, they’ll get to look out on the yard, and remember eating dinner with their loved ones on their best day ever, their wedding, which was lovingly and painstakingly handmade by their friends and family. From the dress sewn by a bridesmaid, to the flowers arranged by Jenny’s mother, this wedding was made just for them, by the people that love them most.

Jenny and Steve, welcome to the club.

Vintage pickle themed wedding invitation photographed by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A brideA bride puts on her wedding dress in this black and white photograph by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A bride is helped into her wedding dress by her bridesmaids and mother in this photograph by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A bride smiles moments before her wedding ceremony in this photograph by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bridal portraits on film using a vintage Rolleiflex by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A hand tied vintage bouquet photographed on film using a vintage Rolleiflex by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Black and white Bridal portraits with a bride wearing a vintage styled veil by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bridal portraits with a bride wearing a vintage styled veil by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bridesmaids toasts the bride before her wedding ceremony by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A backyard wedding ceremony begins by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.The groom sees his bride for the first time in their backyard wedding ceremony by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom share a laugh during their backyard wedding ceremony by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bridesmaids and groomsmen in a backyard wedding ceremony by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A backyard wedding by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A backyard wedding by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A backyard wedding by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A backyard wedding by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom exchange rings during A backyard wedding by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom participate in a wine ceremony during A backyard wedding by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom share their first kiss during A backyard wedding by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.The crowd cheers during A backyard wedding by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.A portrait of the entire wedding party by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bridesmaids in mismatched cream dresses and groomsmen in grey suits by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bridesmaids with the bride and their vintage hand tied bouquets by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Brightly colored hand tied bouquets by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom share a quiet moment together after their backyard wedding ceremony by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom share a quiet moment together after their backyard wedding ceremony by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom share a quiet moment together after their backyard wedding ceremony by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom share a quiet moment together after their backyard wedding ceremony by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom portraits photographed on film using a vintage Rolleiflex by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom share a quiet moment together after their backyard wedding ceremony by Detroit Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom portraits photographed on film using a vintage Rolleiflex by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom head to their backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.View of the tent at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.DIY flowers and detailed at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Mason jar escort cards at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Mason jar votives hang from a trellis at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Woodland creatures painted gold serve as DIY table numbers at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.DIY signage at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Some of the DIY details and the cake at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Menus at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Wildflower colorful flower arrangements at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.The tent at a backyard wedding reception photographed on black and white film using a vintage rolleiflex by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Maid of honor and best man toasts at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.bride and groom react to Maid of honor and best man toasts at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Toasts at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.The fathers of the bride and groom speak at a backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Bride and groom react to the father of the bridefather of the brideBride and groom react to the father of the brideBlack and white photo of the bride and groom at their backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.bride and groom share their first dance at their backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.bride and groom share their first dance at their backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.bride and groom share their first dance at their backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.bride and groom share their first dance at their backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.bride and groom share their first dance at their backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.bride and groom share their first dance at their backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.bride and groom dance with their parents at their backyard wedding reception by Ann Arbor Michigan wedding photographer, Heather Jowett.Slow shutter black and white photography at a Michigan wedding.Slow shutter black and white photography at a Michigan wedding.Lit mason jar votives at a Michigan wedding.Guests dance in a tent under the stars at a Michigan wedding.Guests dance in a tent under the stars at a Michigan wedding.Guests dancing at a backyard wedding by Bloomfield Hills wedding photographer Heather Jowett.Guests dancing at a backyard wedding by Bloomfield Hills wedding photographer Heather Jowett.Bride and groom dancing at a backyard wedding by Bloomfield Hills wedding photographer Heather Jowett.Bride and groom dancing at a backyard wedding by Bloomfield Hills wedding photographer Heather Jowett.The bride and groom exit their wedding reception while guests hold sparklers at a backyard wedding by Bloomfield Hills wedding photographer Heather Jowett.The bride and groom share one more kiss and then exit their wedding reception while guests hold sparklers at a backyard wedding by Bloomfield Hills wedding photographer Heather Jowett.

Nessa - This is a beautiful wedding, Heather! That sparkler kiss is dreamy <3

rahul - Gorgeous wedding. I love that wedding exit.

David Childers - Love the night shots as well, great work!

Brian Kraft - Totally gorgeous! Love the country-backyard feel to everything!

Teresa K - Beautiful, fresh, clean, timeless…love this wedding Heather…welcome to the club indeed!

Daniel Ha - Such a beautiful and organic looking wedding.

Caryn - Oh my goodnesssss! That black and white of the bride is to die for. So gorgeous!

Paul Fuller - So many beautiful details captured perfectly by yourself Heather, awesome !

Ross Harvey - Beautiful wedding, told beautifully :)

Anton Chia - Great details, moments, portraits, everything! Good stuff here!

Joseph Hall - Ahhh – it looks like a lovely day, the dancing shots are awesome

Ariana Watts - Wow what a gorgeous wedding – you did an amazing job photographing it!

Jon Yoder - Heather! You killed it. I love your perspective in story telling photographs. Super cool feel to the set. Keep up the fantastic work. :)

Handmade Backyard Wedding: Jenny and Steve | Love and Lavender - [...] such a gorgeous wedding you need a fabulous photographer and lucky for Jenny and Steve they had Heather Jowett behind the [...]

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